VENTURA, Calif. – The County of Ventura’s first Economic Vitality Strategic Plan was unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors at their meeting on October 24, 2017. The plan is a first for the County and is intended to foster economic growth in a way that is consistent with the County’s longstanding commitments to quality of life and environmental sustainability. A small portion of the plan dealing with an inventory of developable land was deferred for further study and will be considered separately at a later date.
“The County is building a culture of being business-friendly, where staff continues to be focused on customer service, understanding the challenges and risks faced by our local businesses and employers,” said County Executive Officer, Mike Powers. “The plan emphasizes the importance of strengthening regional partnerships with organizations such as the Economic Development Collaborative of Ventura County; Ventura County Economic Development Association; Workforce Development Board; P-20; cities; colleges and universities; and community-based organizations in order to support our local businesses and economy. This includes areas like critical infrastructure such as roads, water, energy, the expansion of broadband coverage, critical social and safety services, and supporting efforts for workforce readiness with partners, employers and our educational system.”
The plan was developed through a collaborative process involving County staff and community stakeholders, with guidance from the Natelson Dale Group, Inc. A wide variety of community partners was invited to a series of four stakeholder workshops. More than 100 participants representing over 57 organizations attended the meetings, and many of the participants attended multiple meetings. They represented local businesses; county agencies and departments; incorporated cities; local government entities; nonprofit and community service groups; and economic development organizations.
County government impacts the local economy in a wide variety of direct and indirect ways including: as a provider of service, such as critical safety, social and health services, as a regulator, through its responsibility to construct and maintain significate infrastructure, as well as one of the region’s largest employers.
“The Economic Vitality Strategic Plan identifies specific actions designed to address local needs like improve business retention and growth, support local entrepreneurs, address affordable housing, and streamline the permitting process,” said Paul Stamper, Deputy Executive Officer. “It is a blueprint for the role the County will play in helping to stimulate economic vitality.”
The plan clearly shows Ventura County has seen job growth in well-paying industries such as health services and local financial services. It also shows the potential for job growth in industries that have seen recent declines, such as information technology, insurance services and communications services.
The plan is organized into six Strategy Groups which contain a total of 31 specific action items. The Strategy Groups are:
1. Protect and strengthen the County’s key assets for encouraging economic vitality.
2. Maximize workforce readiness.
3. Focus on key industries/clusters with the potential to create high-quality employment opportunities.
4. Focus marketing/branding efforts on economic vitality.
5. Review infrastructure conditions and needs.
6. Address key threats to economic progress in Ventura County.
“We’re very pleased the Board recognized the effort and vision that went into the development of the plan,” said Powers. “But the work has only just begun. We believe that collaborating with our community partner organizations to implement this plan will position Ventura County for economic growth and health.”
The County Executive Office will be back before the Board in 18 months to report on the County’s progress on the action items detailed in the plan.
The Economic Vitality Strategic Plan provides a framework for maximizing the positive economic impact of County government in the communities it serves. To read the entire Economic Vitality Strategic Plan, or to learn more about the County’s economic vitality efforts, visit the Economic Vitality website at www.vcevsp.org.